Opioid Issues in Athletes
Section: Sports PT Section
Session Code: SP-1A-4761
Date: Thursday, January 24, 2019
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Room: 146B

Speaker(s):   Chad Asplund, MD
  Mark DeCarlo
  Allen Hardin
  Elliott Hughes
  Cindy Whyde

Session Type: Educational Sessions
Session Level: Intermediate


Opioid analgesics are currently the second most abused drug in the United States, with nearly half of students in seventh through twelfth grade having been prescribed these narcotics. Those youth prescribed these medications are typically athletes recovering from an injury or surgery.

Some athletes cannot cope with the loss of their athletic identity, abilities and playing time that often accompany a significant injury. Some are among the one-third of people who, instead of simple pain relief, feel euphoria when the opioids they are prescribed interact with their brain. These individuals carry a predisposition for addiction, which lies dormant until the drugs are administered. Roughly 17,000 Americans overdose on painkillers annually.

As keynote speaker for this session, Dr. Chad Asplund will provide an overview of the effect of drugs on the brain and body, and the management strategies needed to direct injured and post-operative athletes to successful pain management and safe recovery.

Erin Barill and Allen Hardin will review their extensive experience at the profession and collegiate level respectively in working with athletes in providing pain relief following injury and surgery through various methodologies as an alternative to narcotic drugs.

Terri Chmielewski has represented the American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy at the American Physical Therapy Association Pain Workgroup meetings as well as the NCAA Summit on Pain Management in the Collegiate Athlete. She will provide an overview of the work that these two groups are focusing on including pain management, pain education resources as well as the methodology in educating and training all members of the sports medicine team in pain and the biopsychosocial approach to injury care and pain management.

Cindy Whyde and Elliott Hughes will provide an intimate view of one athlete’s addiction to opioid drugs following injury, his near death from overdose, and his long road back to physical and mental health. Their story will reveal the devastating impact on the athlete and the athlete’s family and friends due to addiction to narcotic drugs.

Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

1. Describe the global opioid crisis in athletics.

2. Explain strategies for the prevention of opioid abuse in high school, collegiate and professional sectors of sports and recognize the role of the sports physical therapist as part of the sports medicine team in implementing these strategies.

3. Discuss the impact of opioid addiction on the individual and the family unit.

4. Recognize that addiction affects a multitude of others, and identify strategies in which stakeholders, including coaches, medical professionals, and teammates, will take an active role in prevention and early identification of at risk athletes.

5. Recognize that recovery is possible, despite varying opinions relating to effective treatment strategies, and varying data sets regarding treatment success.

6. Recognize that individuals suffering with opioid addiction have routinely expressed a feeling that their family and friends have at varying points in this process written them off.

7. State that prevention and education programs should be available to stakeholders in all aspects of sports, including nurses, coaches, students, athletes and families.

CEU: 0.2

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